WHATEVER!

“White to me is a defining color like those huge pillars standing in front of the White House.”

“Powder”

As a youngster, I often wondered why some older folks copped an attitude over the littlest things. Dad would get upset if the morning newspaper was not there before he left for work. Had I analyzed things by TV wisdom alone, I would’ve guessed a lack of Geritol led to his irritability. Geritol’s rarely mentioned anymore for whatever reason?

Back in the day, this bottled elixir was constantly being touted on television as a cure for iron poor blood. Mom served plenty of collard greens and red beets at dinner, as an alternative means of pumping up our blood with minerals and nutrients. That’s not all her cooked vegetables produced. Ethyl is slang for what I’m referring to. Younger readers will have to look it up. Now that I’ve reached senior status, I understand the root of irritability goes much deeper than lack of iron or sleep.

Early on, I was taught responsibility by my parents. That meant taking a bath, brushing my teeth, household chores, homework, keeping the lawn mowed, picking up our dog’s poo, along with other assigned duties.

Once married, I had to be responsible to my wife, children, employer, and people I didn’t even know. My pastor told the congregation that we needed to be responsible to the man upstairs. When he mentioned we, he meant me in that sense.

Over the years I’ve worked hard and did my best to provide for the family. I believe I’ve succeeded in this area. We never lived at the top of the hill yet managed to survive just the same.

Throughout time, I incurred many tasks that I did not like to do. Paperwork is one of them. To this day, I do not like having to constantly fill out forms of any kind, especially mortgage refinance papers.

I was in a medical office last week, and the receptionist claimed that I needed to update my personal information. When I told her that nothing had changed, she handed me an electronic clipboard just the same.

I started going down the list. They asked if my medications were different, did I have covid at any time or come in contact with someone that did. Was I having any new problems? It was the usual array of questions that every doctor’s office wants answered, including having to know if I was white, black, or brown.

I really didn’t fit any of the 3 colors offered. White to me is a defining color like those huge pillars standing in front of the White House. In the movie “Powder”, the lead character was what I’d call white. I’m definitely not black nor brown at this stage, although early on I turned light brown in the sun. These days without sunscreen I remain a reddish hue much like an almost done steak.

The question that had me most confused was the gender one. It asked if I was male, female, bisexual, transgender, and the list seemingly went on and on. I can’t remember them all. A choice of other went with this inquiry; an explanation needed if you chose it. At this point I became a bit irritable, yet not enough to intentionally harm myself.

Had I ever considered harming myself was actually one of the questions asked. My body does ache from a bad back and arthritis, but that pain isn’t intentional on my part. I ran out of time before I could answer everything. The nurse called me back to her examination room, saying I could finish up before leaving.

Getting back to my truck, I remembered that I hadn’t stopped at the counter to complete things.

“Whatever!”

Next trip in I’m sure they’ll make sure I finish all empty blanks. I have my answers firmly implanted upstairs:

  1. New problems: Irritability
  2. Color: Medium well
  3. Gender: Cyborg

Before closing, I found that the late actress Betty White hawked Geritol in the middle 1950’s as a cure all for many ills. Everyone knows that Betty was always cool and calm, never appearing irritable or hostile. Betty White also lived to be 99. Maybe there’s something to drinking Geritol after all?

Actress Betty White promoting Geritol.

CUP O’ JOE

“I mean, why would any retired person be in a hurry unless they need to get to a hospital.”

“Medium hot coffee please.”

My wife and I are addicted to McDonald’s coffee. We generally share a medium size cup each morning. I can’t say that McDonald’s coffee is the best in town, but the price is right. The well-organized crew working Swanson Boulevard McDonald’s drive-thru makes it even better.

I did some research to see where McDonald’s gets their coffee beans. Some company named Gavina is their supplier. I can only assume that Gavina purchased their beans from Juan Valdez at one time. Old-timers should remember Juan. He represented the Columbian Coffee Growers Association and appeared in numerous commercials with his pack mule.

Juan Valdez was actually a fictitious name. The fellow playing this part was Carlos Sanchez. Sadly, Carlos passed away on January 14, 2019 at the age of 83. He was one of those instantly likable characters, always wearing a smile. I give Juan partial credit for getting me hooked on java.

While sitting in the drive-thru line waiting for our Cup O’ Joe, I always make a mental note of things going on around our car. There’s never a dull moment it seems. I have a running bet with my wife on which drive-thru line will be fastest. I generally choose the left and her the right. It’s always a toss-up. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and no one line is consistently faster.

Joleen and I have seen some interesting things during this time. Early one morning, an older fellow in front of us was snoozing. I suppose he hadn’t had his coffee, either that, or the guy was just coming home after a wild night in Laughlin. A light toot on my horn got him moving.

We’ve observed folks order and then keep on driving when it was time to pay. I suppose leaving a wallet or purse at home accounts for most of those wasted trips.

A lifted Ford truck pulling a large boat tried to squeeze through the right hand line. After barely getting past the order board, this driver found that he couldn’t make the turn. He ended up having to back out with help from several other young guys, along with assistance from a McDonald’s maintenance man.

Texting, totally unaware that the car in front has moved forward, sets the pace for most incidents. Never mind that the person behind them has to wait. We’ve watched irate drive-thru customers honk and then yell to get these rude individuals moving.

Some folks have taken five minutes or longer to order just a couple of items. After one woman moved ahead, I saw on the screen that she ordered an Egg McMuffin and Coke. I suppose she needed to know exactly what’s in the breakfast sandwich, along with how many calories and fat grams.

We’ve seen impatient drivers lay on their horn hoping that’ll speed the process up, including a couple of guys smoking their tires on the way out. I suppose those clowns were running a bit late for work. They couldn’t have been retirees like us, could they? I mean, why would any retired person be in a hurry unless they need to get to a hospital.

So far, the biggest order we’ve observed was $139.00. That was a guy in an expensive Mercedes sedan with California plates. Undoubtedly, there have been bigger orders. Perhaps the funniest thing I observed was a burly fellow like me dropping his credit card at the pay window.

Cars were stacked up behind and in front of him. Being so close to the building, the poor man couldn’t open his door to retrieve the card. He had to crawl across the console and exit through his passenger door. There still wasn’t room for him to squeeze between the vehicle and wall. By this time he was sweating profusely. An employee finally handed the fellow a broom and he was able to snag it. I’m sure the McDonald’s workers have witnessed even funnier things.

Birds of all type are generally in the parking lot each morning. I’m sure they come to take in the drive-thru action, plus have a snack on the side. Just as Havasu locals get a kick out of watching out-of-state boaters attempt to back down a launch ramp, I believe those seagulls, blackbirds, and pigeons get a chuckle out of watching caffeine depraved humans nearly lose it each morning.

The small price we pay each morning for a Cup O’ Joe is well worth the money, especially since the entertainment going with it is free. I’m sure the late Juan Valdez would agree!

Juan Valdez (the late Carlos Sanchez)

HACKING HARRIET

“All she cared about was getting to Maui.”

Lost

Thirty-seven years ago, while living in Alaska, my wife and I were given an opportunity to go on a weeklong cruise of the Hawaiian Islands.  Republic Automotive picked up the tab. Our group consisted of perhaps forty people, most all connected to the automotive parts industry. Transportation was provided roundtrip out of Anchorage.

It was January and brutally cold. Our plane departed around one in the morning, and I was never so glad to be out of there. A lady sitting behind me with no connection to our group was sniffing and coughing. She must’ve felt guilty because I heard her remark to a flight attendant,

“I planned this trip a year ago and nothing’s going to stop me from going!”

At the time I didn’t think too much about what this woman said. A day later when I was sick, and just about everyone else in our party had the crud, I remembered her statement. Coming down with the flu while on a ship is not the most pleasant experience. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch came to mind here. Undoubtedly, had this woman wore a mask she could’ve spared some of us her misery. I doubt that even crossed the gal’s mind.

This woman who I nicknamed, “Hacking Harriet,” was selfish enough to be totally unconcerned about spreading her germs to others. All she cared about was getting to Maui. There are millions just like her out there. Today, many of them use the term “freedom” in justifying just about anything they do. Ignoring the speed limit, tailgating, setting off mega-loud fireworks where they’re prohibited, cursing loudly when children are present, littering, not picking up after their dog, the list goes on and on.

The other morning, I was in a local industrial store to purchase some hydraulic fittings. A customer standing in front of me was coughing and hacking.  He looked absolutely horrible. I instinctively stepped back a couple of paces with flashbacks of Hacking Harriet coming to mind. Thankfully, the store door was open, and a small breeze pushed all of his germs the opposite direction of me. A store employee standing downwind wished the fellow luck on getting better. The sick customer’s response was amazing,

“I should’ve never come to work.”

I almost blurted out, “No kidding buddy!”, yet bit my tongue.

A couple of days later I was back in this store and noticed several faces missing. Asking an employee, I was told a few guys called in sick. I pretty much predicted that’d happen. No one in the building had on masks except me. Thankfully, I sported one the previous trip as well.

With the callous and carefree attitude of so many people, this covid virus will never go away. There’s now talk about letting medical workers come to work ill, just like that guy I encountered in the industrial store. It doesn’t take a huge amount of smarts to see how that’ll turn out.

The Hacking Harriet’s of this world will continue to do as they do. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, they lost a few marbles. I’m thankful with mounting years, that I still have mine, plus a few that I found.

Found

SHOWDOWN at SMOKETREE

“My wife wasn’t happy, yet I believe Sheriff Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday would’ve been proud.”

Sheriff Wyatt Earp

Perhaps my biggest pet peeve, is another driver flashing their brights at me believing that mine are on. It happens quite often. I suppose that’s because I keep my headlight lenses clean. It’s either that, or people with severe glaucoma or cataracts sit behind the wheel of an oncoming vehicle.

The worst stretch of road where this occurs is at the exit past Needles, California, on U.S. 95 north heading to Laughlin and Searchlight, Nevada. There are a bunch of dips in the road along that route making it appear high beams are lit when they’re not.

It also takes place quite often in this town. Some city streets are inclined as they cross Highway 95, thus, directing vehicle headlight rays upwards. I’ve sat at numerous redlights at either South Acoma, Swanson, or Smoketree, and had a disgruntled driver shine their high-beams at me. When I flash mine back, they generally get the message. Sometimes they don’t. That happened the other evening.

I was on Smoketree stopped at the light heading west. McDonald’s restaurant was my destination. Across 95 from me was a small car going east. The guy flipped on his brights and left them that way. I blipped my headlight switch. He obliviously didn’t get the message.

Reverting back to blind you status, I kept mine on high-beam as payback. It turned into a showdown of sorts. We sat through the first light with neither car budging. There were no vehicles behind either of us, so all was good. I wished at that point I had aircraft landing lights.

My wife glared at me asking, “What are you doing?” I didn’t answer because it was a man thing, and she wouldn’t understand.

After sitting through one full light, we entered another segment of the standoff before a truck rolled up behind the guy. The man reluctantly crossed 95 giving me an angry stare as he drove past. It was another old geezer like me. I’m sure the fellow noticed I wore sunglasses. I never leave home without them.

Some might say that this was childish behavior on our part. Police would claim such events can lead to road rage. Both opinions hold merit. Regardless, it was obvious to me that I came out the victor and that’s all that mattered at the time.

My wife wasn’t happy, yet I believe Sheriff Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday would’ve been proud. I suppose if it happens again, and it will, I’ll simply put my sunglasses on and look away like so many times before. That would be the smart thing to do. I’m sure Chief Dan Doyle of the Lake Havasu City Police Department would agree.

Doc Holliday

A SINKING BOAT

“I’m thankful my parents didn’t believe that polio and smallpox shots were acts of government overreach. “

I have friends on each side of the fence, with valid opinions on whether masks work or not where covid and omicron protection is concerned. None of them are experts on the subject. Those same friends have their own ideas regarding vaccinations. Most, if not all, get their information via television screens, reading books and magazines, neighbors, or through Facebook and YouTube selfproclaimed experts.

It doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that if masks didn’t work, doctors and nurses wouldn’t use them. Are they 100% effective at stopping germs? No, but it doesn’t take Albert Einstein to see that some protection is better than none. How about vaccinations? I’m thankful my parents didn’t believe that polio and smallpox shots were acts of government overreach. Partially due to Dad and Mom’s wise medical decisions early on, I’ve lived a healthy disease-free life up to this point.

Imagine being in a sinking boat with 999 other people. All passengers have an empty milk jug to help bail water, yet each jug has a small hole in the bottom. Two-hundred people right off the bat refuse to bail when asked to, saying that it infringes on their freedom. They sit back taunting those doing the bailing.

No matter how fast the others bail, a small amount of water still escapes from their jug back into the bottom of the boat. In spite of such, the vessel’s still afloat and headed to safe harbor.

Before long, many people start complaining about the jugs not being 100% effective. They see it as wasted energy on their part to continue. The freedom crowd cheers them on. This do-nothing group works hard at persuading folks to drop their milk jugs and join the carefree party.

Hours later, the ones still continuing to bail can’t keep up. Water eventually reaches the top of the hull and the boat sinks. That’s exactly where this country is headed in areas of infectious viruses like covid and omicron.

I’ll end my New Year’s eve spiel with a line from famous American philosopher, Forrest Gump,

Stupid is as stupid does!”

Referring back to my hypothetical story of the sinking boat, it’s quite easy to see who the stupid ones are.

Stupid is as stupid does!”

MY CHRISTMAS STORY

“These guys were dead on arrival!”

Similar to a Boy Scout Christmas tree lot I worked at in 1964.

I’ve never written a Christmas story. It’s not that I don’t have good memories of events leading up to Jesus’ birthday. No siree! I have so many recollections that it’s hard to pick just one.

I was blessed to share Christmas with a loving dad, mom, and brother. Not everyone is that fortunate. There are dozens of unique events I recall from celebrating Christmas with my family in a puny trailer home. I’ll leave those for another day. For now, I’ll opt for this short one:

******************

The year was 1964. My family lived in Lubbock, Texas where I was a ten-year-old fledgling Boy Scout. Our troop had an annual Christmas tree sale, with scouts expected to man the fort for two weeks. When I say fort, I mean a small camping trailer on a dirt lot. Trees came in on a flatbed truck and were offloaded by hand. I still recall the strong smell of spruce and sap. The sticky goo wouldn’t wash off my hands and clothes without using ample amounts of Pinesol. That cleaning agent had its own pungent aroma.

My shift consisted of the last two days of the sale. By then, all of the good trees were long gone. We had perhaps ten specimens left and they were quite homely. The prices were marked down accordingly. Surprisingly, folks still came by to save a buck. My scoutmaster showed me a clever trick to help get rid of the last sickly few.

“These guys were dead on arrival.”, he mentioned, while shaking his head in tearless sympathy. “Let’s pretty them up!”

I don’t remember the scoutmaster’s name, but he carried in his car trunk, a drill, small hand saw, and some clear glue. It was much too cold outside to perform surgery, so we hauled ailing trees inside the trailer where a propane heater was going. A folding table served as our operating platform.

The fellow showed me how to drill holes in trees that were missing limbs, cut good limbs from a donor tree, dab glue on a branch end, and then twist it in place. Dr. Frankenstein couldn’t have done better. Once the task was complete, that tree went back outside and another took its place. After finishing up, my mentor replied,

“They’re now on life support!”

We sold almost all of them, with no buyers noticing the surgery. When it came time to close shop around noon on December 24th, there were three trees left. Those were the donors minus numerous branches. They were good for burning and nothing else. I never forgot my scoutmaster’s tree-trick. Several years later it came in handy.

My family had a gangly looking artificial tree with several places on it void of limbs. Somehow, my son and I were able to scrounge up a spare. I believe it was an old one that mom had but can’t be sure. Holes were drilled in the trunk of the good one, with limbs from the donor tree removed and inserted into them. It was a flashback to 1964. That artificial tree lasted us for at least sixteen Christmases.

I still recall three things learned in the Boy Scouts, with Christmas-tree-restoration being the most useful next to tying square and granny knots.

Christmas tree hearse

DEAD MAN’S CURVE

“The small Ford Courier pickup that Helen drove was sliced into two large pieces.”

Coherent geezers from my generation should remember the song, “Dead Man’s Curve” by Jan and Dean. This popular tune reached number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964.

Lyrics tell about a Corvette and a Jaguar racing on the street late one night. When they arrive at Dead Man’s Curve, unfortunately, the driver of the Jag can’t make the turn and skids off the highway. Evidently the guy didn’t survive.

When I lived in Alaska, we had our own Dead Man’s Curve in Anchorage. I had several encounters with that stretch of road: some intentional and a couple of them accidental. Our deadly curve was on Jewel Lake Road close to the airport.

The speed limit on this curve was 35 mph. Friends of mine attempted to double that speed going through it, me included. The closest I ever came was 60. I suppose a Corvette or Jaguar could’ve easily done so at 70. Mercury, Chevrolet, and Dodge automobiles I drove back then didn’t have great handling ability.

I witnessed quite a few collisions at that location. Most of them were in the winter with drivers losing control and hitting the guardrail. That protective barrier on the curve was always battered and had to be replaced often.

In 1977, I was managing my father’s automotive parts store in the Jewel Lake area. I received a call from the police that our parts runner, Helen, had been involved in an accident. Quickly heading to the area, firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars were blocking lanes both directions. Parking my vehicle, I walked a half-mile to get to the wreck. It was directly in the middle of Dead Man’s Curve.

The small Ford Courier pickup that Helen drove was sliced into two large pieces. The front cab was in one location, and the bed with rear tires was in another. Parts destined for my store were scattered everywhere.

A large car had t-boned her after it lost traction. Helen was carefully extracted from the carnage. It was a good thing because later on I learned she had a broken back. Police said it was a miracle the young woman wasn’t killed.

At this time, it was the most serious accident I’d come across at this locale. I was told by a friend, years previous, that the graphic name came from several individuals having been killed there over time. Little did I know I’d be witness to another.

My wife worked at a building perhaps three miles from Dead Man’s Curve. Often, I’d pick her up on my days off and we’d go to lunch. In September 1985, Joleen and I were cruising to Godfather’s Pizza in Jewel Lake. I remember it being cold and drizzly.

As we came upon the curve, I saw a truck out of control sliding our direction. The driver was desperately fighting for control of the rig. I hit the gas and we went sailing across a ditch just before the guardrail began.

A Chevrolet Chevette in front of us wasn’t as fortunate. It was in the apex of the curve and this metal guardrail allowed it no escape.

Our Chevy Blazer bounced before coming to a stop. I checked to see if Joleen was okay, before jumping out and running towards the other vehicles. A lifted, 3/4-ton Ford nailed the smaller Chevette square center. I was first to reach the automobile and found its driver dead. Others soon arrived and removed him. There was nothing paramedics could do. The teenagers in the truck were shaken up but okay. Had Joleen and I not left the road, this truck would’ve struck us as well.

Approximately one year later, I was called to testify at a court hearing. Attorneys for the deceased had large photos of the accident scene to help in their wrongful death lawsuit. I was asked to show the court the place where I first spotted this pickup out of control. When I pointed to an area well before the curve, an attorney said that would’ve been impossible.

“Trees would’ve obstructed your view!”, a lawyer chimed in.

The man was right. All I could say to him was,

 “That’s where I saw it.”

Over the years I’ve told several people this story. A few mentioned that we were lucky that morning. I politely listened to them, but in my mind, I knew it was a power much greater than luck, giving me the ability to see for a split second through those trees.

  • Because of so many terrible accidents, the radius of this deadly curve was eventually changed for the better.
Yellow line marks approximate radius of old curve.

THE GUESSING GAME

“I suppose my pastor would say it’s akin to gambling, although I didn’t view it that way back then.”

“The Guessing Game”

I recall this first happening in fourth grade at Reese Elementary School in Lubbock, Texas. It has since been repeated thousands of times.

Mrs. Hagan instructed our class that if we came to a test question we didn’t know the answer to, it was better to “guess” and take a chance, than leave things blank. That hit home with me because I was leaving more blanks than anything else.

On our next quiz I did quite well. I don’t remember the amount of questions guessed, but I was correct on a majority of them. I got an A on that paper and verbal accolades going along with such. The grade wasn’t as significant as discovering that guessing was exciting, and in a strange way, made learning fun. It was much like a television game show without the expensive prizes.

I tried to completely guess the next couple of tests without studying and failed miserably. I wasn’t the only kid picking up this poor educational habit. After several weeks, students were re-instructed by Mrs. Hagan to leave things blank if they didn’t know the answer. At this point, I couldn’t return to my old ways as I was hooked. Several boys in my class had the same addiction. I suppose my pastor would say it’s akin to gambling, although I didn’t view it that way back then.

Throughout life I’ve used guessing in many areas. If I didn’t know the direction to a specific location, I guessed on which road to take. Sometimes I was right yet the majority of time I was wrong. I didn’t have a problem with being lost, because I saw things along the way that I’d never come across otherwise. Unfortunately, GPS took care of that problem if you can call it that.

I’ve guessed on driving test questions, employment applications, financial questionnaires, which line to get in at the drive-thru pharmacy, what grocery store checker was quickest, which wrench or socket to use, how old a person is, and the list goes on and on.

I don’t guess as much as I once did. These days I pray about what to do when an important decision is needed. Prayer isn’t used in areas unimportant. On those occasions, I turn to Honest Abe Lincoln to make my decision.

Do I want a Hobo omelet for breakfast or blueberry pancakes? Abe not only takes care of that decision, he becomes part of the tip.

A friend told me that some California schools are thinking about using two-answer multiple choice tests, instead of three and four. Students will only have a choice between A or B. I suppose this is to give underachievers like me a better chance on guessing the correct answer.

Had that been the norm in 1963, I’d be asking my teacher come test day,

“Mrs. Hagan, do you have an extra pencil and a penny?”

Heads for A – Tails for B.

LAKE HAVASU CITY

“No crystal ball nor financial expert was needed by us to see that Lake Havasu City property would someday spiral upwards in value.”

INJO DRIVE

I’ve been asked numerous times,

What brought you and Joleen to Lake Havasu City from Alaska?”

I’ll try to cram this lengthy story into a nutshell. My brother, Jim, was an air traffic controller stationed at Blythe, California in 1979. He invited us to visit him the following summer and we happily obliged. Our son, Gunnar, was two-years-old at this time.

After a day of taking in all there was to see, in and around the desert community of Blythe, Jim asked if we’d like to walk across the London Bridge. Joleen and I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about. He told us a story of chainsaw and outboard motor magnate, Robert McCulloch Sr., purchasing the famous bridge from the City of London, moving it thousands of miles to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, where the disassembled and numbered blocks of granite were then reassembled. When my brother told this tale it sounded more like myth than fact.

The drive from Blythe took us about an hour. We were impressed with not only the antique bridge, but cleanliness of the city as well. It helped that the outboard boat championship was going on that weekend along with a car show. Joleen and I decided at that point that Lake Havasu City was where we’d someday have a winter home.

After our tour with Jim was over, Joleen, Gunnar, and I headed back to Havasu from Blythe and purchased a residential lot, with the help of Realtor Diane Carlson. Our first piece of property was ironically on Injo Drive. “Jo” is my wife’s nickname. Friends and family laughed at our decision saying it was no place they’d want to live, and they doubted the idea was a smart one.

Our investment property was quite easy to get into. An older couple purchased the land from Robert McCulloch Jr’s. – Holly Development Corporation in 1972. In 1980, they no longer had plans to build on it. We paid $9,000.00 with ten percent down, amortized over 30-years. The monthly payment was basically nothing. That following year, Joleen and I bought an adjoining lot for almost the same price.

Starting a partnership with Joleen’s brother, Calvin Freeman, we accumulated more inexpensive lots through the help of Realtor – Randy Randall. We weren’t high rollers like so many rich investors from California are. Calvin, Joleen, and I were working-stiffs, investing what spare money we could scrape together for down payments. No crystal ball nor financial expert was needed by us to see that Lake Havasu City property would someday spiral upwards in value.

Several more years went by before the old police station on London Bridge Road was vacated for a newer structure. We purchased it and quickly went to work with the assistance of, Ron Claspill, in removing all heavy steel jail bars and doors. In three-short-months we turned the old block building into a triple-unit commercial rental. Over time, our low-budget investment group called AZAKS LTD. accumulated 200 consecutive feet of commercial frontage on London Bridge Road alone. AZAKS stands for: Arizona – Alaska – Kansas.

When retirement rolled around it was time to unload all holdings. Realtor’s, Suzannah Ballard and Richard Pagliero, took care of that for us. The money garnered from such went into a house project for Joleen and me, while Calvin used his funds to buy a home and acreage in Kansas. There was nothing financially complicated about what we did. Most of all, Rich Dad Poor Dad author, Robert Kiyosaki, wasn’t needed to instruct us on how to go invest our money. “It was so simple that a caveman could do it!”

I’ve told my children, friends, and strangers, that they should consider doing the same. My parents were the ones advising us to go this direction, and had they not done so, Joleen and I wouldn’t be spending winters in warm Lake Havasu City. Most likely, I’d still be shoveling snow, bad hips and all, in Alaska.

If I had another 40-years, I’d do the same type no brainer investment in Yucca, Arizona. Ten-years ago, I predicted property there would double, and that a truck stop would be built, with both visions now coming true. I have a gut feeling that something even bigger will happen in that area before long. People I know will laugh at this idea as well, yet I won’t be around to see them wrong this time.

The old LHCPD building – 296 London Bridge Road

“ROCKY” and the “IDITATOK” JOKE

“It was 1991, when a group of marijuana connoisseurs came up with a companion event to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. They called their bizarro plan, “IDITATOK.”

Early KFQD Studio – Pre-Marcus

All good things must come to an end they say. An ongoing joke for close to 30-years has finally reached that plateau.

My family has been fans of Anchorage radio and television celebrity, Marcus Lewis, since he first went on the air in Anchorage. Our son, Gunnar, attended the same daycare on Baxter Drive as Marcus’s daughter, Heather. This was around 1979. That’s where I first met Mr. Lewis. He was driving a new, shiny-black Camaro at the time.

Each morning, we’d tune our radio in to the, “Marcus in the Morning Show.” I can’t tell you how many years we listened. I believe my kids were some of the first to call Marcus when it snowed less than an inch, asking, “Is there school today?” Several hundred other children and adults soon followed suit.

In the early 1980’s, I won a free personal pizza at Pizza Hut on Muldoon Road through a KFQD radio contest. Marcus joined a group of us for lunch that day. He was a real hoot, and I observed that the man’s sense of humor was over the top. I won numerous other items from his show, with the best being a glass vial of Mount Saint Helen volcanic ash. I still have it, believing by the year 2525 it’ll be worth a fortune on eBay.

Coming in second were tickets to a Tommy Tutone concert. Of course, Tommy Tutone was a one hit wonder, with “Jenny” being their #1 money maker. Jennie’s phone number, 8675309, has never left my mind.

It was 1991, when a group of marijuana connoisseurs came up with a companion event to the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. They named their bizarro gettogether, “IDITATOK.” Marcus mentioned it on his show, saying that the idea was hilarious.

I dialed KFQD that morning, claiming to be “Rocky” from Talkeetna, desperately needing information on time and place. Marcus was quick-witted in his response, “I’ll have the proper authorities call you with that information!”

Excerpt from March 1991 newspaper article.

Each year around February, “Rocky” made it a point to call and ask Marcus the same IDITATOK question. Most every occasion, Marcus and his co-host, April, had this imposter on the air. My wife and kids covered their mouths to keep from laughing outloud and being heard.

Around 1992, I began working with a fellow named, Kurt Rogers. Not only did Kurt and I work together, we became good comrades. His sense of humor was top notch like Marcus, but on a dryer level. One day at break, Kurt told me that Marcus Lewis and his wife were friends of theirs. Kurt said that he often did remodeling work on the Lewis’ home.

When I told Kurt what I’d been up to, he busted a gut. Informing him that I was going to have to stop calling because of caller I.D., my friend insisted that I needed to keep the joke going as long as possible. We put our thinking caps on coming up with a plan. Kurt’s suggestion was that I send Marcus cards and letters each year, and write messages on them like a crazy person. For me, that made things simple.

Marcus has received a card or letter from “Rocky” for close to 30-years, describing what the IDITATOK veteran from Talkeetna had been up to. Family and friends living in various parts of the country helped out in this scheme, by mailing pre-written cards or letters from their home state.

In this correspondence, “Rocky” has been in and out of the pokey more than once, entered the radio business and was fired multiple occasions, sold used cars, dealt in “herbs”, was a professional gambler, musician, struggling actor, juggler, mime, Amway salesman, and a host of other things I no longer remember.

I always kept Kurt up to speed on the latest. Far as I know my pal never told anyone including his wife, Sharon. Sadly, Kurt passed away a few years ago. I’ve kept the joke going in memory of him, but time’s ripe for it to take a bow. I believe Kurt Rogers would say, “A joke well done!”

Hopefully, Marcus took things in good humor, as this is the first time I’ve disclosed such. I thank him for the many smiles he put on not only my face, but thousands of other listeners as well!

“Rocky” Peace! Out!

KFQD